01/23/2006: Abramoff money? What Abramoff money?
Well, some money from Sleazy Jack's clients, but not nearly as much as people think...
Via Josh Marshall, we get a pointer to an interesting piece by Mark Schmitt on Deborah Howell's defense of her claim that Abramoff steered client money to Democrats:
One point to add to Brad DeLong's, and others', dogged and appropriate insistence that the Washington Post finally correct its own and its ombuds-person's errors regarding possible Democratic beneficiaries of Abramoff-tainted cash:Bipartisan scandal? Riiiiigggggghhhhhttttt.....
To defend her modified, limited clarification that Abramoff "directed" money to Democrats from his clients, the Post's Deborah Howell cited this graphic, which features a fragment of a list that Abramoff sent the Louisiana Coushatta tribe suggesting congressional incumbents and candidates and party organizations they should contribute to.
Brad has noted that the fragment, which contains mostly names beginning with the letter C (the full document is not publicly available) proposed $4,000 in contributions to Democrats, against $115,000 to Republicans. But a look at actual donations from the Coushatta raises even more questions
The Howell fragment indicates that Abramoff asked the Coushatta to give $2,000 each to two Democrats, then-Senators Jean Carnahan and Max Cleland, as well as an amount, illegible on the graphic, to Tom Daschle, at the time still Senate Majority Leader.
The full list of contributions from Abramoff and his clients is available from the Center for Responsive Politics here. This list makes no attempt to determine wehter the contributions were "directed" by Abramoff or reflected longstanding loyalties to legislators who, like Daschle or Byron Dorgan, "have been supporting the tribes for longer than Jack Abramoff has been bilking them."
Comparing this list to the Howell fragment, one finds that neither the Coushatta nor any other Abramoff client actually gave money to Jean Carnahan, although Abramoff himself and his clients gave $3,000 to her Republican opponent, Jim Talent. The Coushatta did give to Cleland, not $2,000 but $500, while Abramoff and his tribal clients gave eleven times as much to Cleland's opponent, now-Senator Saxby Chambliss. Daschle, based on the CRP list, got nothing from the Coushatta, although other tribes did support him, while Abramoff himself and other clients backed his opponent, Sen. John Thune. [emphasis added --LRC]
Len on 01.23.06 @ 06:23 PM CST